How can I tell if my article is a scholarly/academic/peer-reviewed source?


Our EBSCO databases are a great place to find Scholarly sources, and you can choose to limit your search in those databases to only bring back peer-reviewed sources. Check-out our full list of scholarly databases, and we recommend starting with Academic Search Premier database if you aren't sure which one to choose. 

If you are finding sources online. Here are some of the basic things to look for regarding the basic qualities of a scholarly sources versus a non-scholarly source.

Focus on the audience and the vocabulary. Is this something that people who are already experts are likely to read? Or is it more general information and background for someone who might not know a lot about at topic?

These are the kinds of questions to ask yourself as you look at the articles you are finding. 

Qualities of Scholarly Sources

  • Author: Written by experts (scientists, professors, scholars) in a particular field.
  • Audience: Written for other experts in a particular field.
  • Language: Very technical and scholarly. Not easily understood.
  • Purpose: Published by non-profit or education organizations to communicate new ideas.
  • Characteristics: Tend to be longer and are on very specific topics.
  • Citations: Provide complete and formal citations for sources.
  • Review Process: Often reviewed by a panel of scholars in the field being studied (i.e. Peer-Reviewed).

Qualities of Non-Scholarly

  • Author: Written by professional writers, journalists, or members of the general public. News sources are never scholarly sources. 
  • Audience: Written for the general public.
  • Language: Basic and clear. Easily understood.
  • Purpose: Often published by for-profit companies for revenue and profit.
  • Characteristics: Tend to be short and on topics of general interest.
  • Citations: Provide informal or no citations for sources.
  • Review Process: Reviewed by an editor or self-published with no formal review process.
  • Last Updated May 11, 2022
  • Views 38
  • Answered By Daniel Gallaher

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